WELSH Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies is taking a “complete break from work” following doctor’s advice, he has announced. 

The South Wales Central MS, who became group leader for a second time earlier this year, said he is currently recovering from coronavirus and the flu which he said has had a “troubling impact on my mental well-being". 

In a statement, posted to his Twitter account, he announced he would be taking a break which he said is on “doctor’s orders”. 

It is unclear how long Mr Davies will be away from his duties as an MS and leader of the largest opposition group. Former group leader Paul Davies filled in for his colleague at First Minister’s Questions this week. 

Mr Davies said “like many men” he believed he had a “shield of invincibility” and had contemplated whether he should make a public statement but had done so as he believed it to be “good leadership” and is aware “many have struggled and will do with their mental well-being". 

He also thanked Preseli Pembrokeshire MS Paul Davies for fulfilling his duties during his absence. Paul Davies had stepped down as group leader in January after he, and some other Senedd Members, had been drinking alcohol on the Senedd estate when lockdown rules had forced licensed premises in Wales to close. 

On Sunday Andrew RT Davies explained his absence from the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, tweeting: "Very disappointed that I’m unable to join friends and colleagues at #CPC21 this weekend. Unfortunately the dreaded man-flu has knocked me for six these past few days - I’ve never been as ill!"

As well as being a member of the Senedd Andrew RT Davies has, since February 2019, served as a county councillor in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Andrew RT Davies' statement in full

"As some of you are aware over the past fortnight I've been fighting a dose of the flu and subsequently coronavirus.

"I'm starting to recover but will admit it's knocked me for six and had a troubling impact on my mental well-being.

"Like many men, I've always believed I've had a shield of invincibility, and I've contemplated whether I should make this public.

"However, as a leader, I believe you should set an example - in the good times and the bad - and I know many have struggled and will do with their mental well-being.

"As such, and on doctor's orders, I will be taking a complete break from work to ensure I can fully recover and bounce back from the difficulties I've experienced over the past fortnight.

"In the meantime, I would like to thank Paul Davies for continuing with my duties during my absence and I ask that my privacy and that of my family is respected."

 

As Senedd Members are holders of public office, rather than being employees, they aren't subject to conditions such as having to present a doctor's note if absent from work for more than seven days in a row. 

The Conservative group had held a debate on mental health in the Senedd on Wednesday with members from various parties highlighting iniatives across Wales to support those who may be struggling and with some sharing their own experiences.

Following RT Davies' announcement he has received support from a cross section of Welsh politics.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said "Speaking out is brave and should be applauded. My best wishes to you, Andrew."

 

Welsh Liberal Democrat MS Jane Dodds said her whole family is wishing him a quick recovery.

 

Llywydd Elin Jones has also sent her best wishes.

 

Andrew RT Davies has been a member of the Welsh Assembly and Senedd since he was first elected to represent the South Wales Central region in 2007 and he became group leader in 2011. He stepped down from that role in 2018 when Paul Davies, who had been deputy leader, won a party-wide leadership contest.

Paul Davies also served as interim leader in 2011 before party members elected RT Davies to the leadership position.

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